Nasim Pedrad Navigates Relationship Disaster in Slapdash Rom-Com ‘Desperados’
Former “Saturday Night Live” actor Nasim Pedrad finally gets her chance to step into a leading role with “Desperados,” a Netflix film that is part romantic comedy and part road trip movie. Pedrad stars as Wesley, an unemployed guidance counselor who is also unlucky in love. However, her fortune seems to change when she meets sports agent Jared (Robbie Amell). But, sadly, after Mr. Perfect seems to ghost her, Wes finds herself going down a spiral that leads her straight into a Mexican jail.
Like many films that deal with the dismal dating life of a millennial, “Desperados” is primarily set in Los Angeles. When we first meet Wes, she’s at a job interview, giving cringeworthy answers to the person interviewing her, who happens to be a nun (Mo Gaffney). Later, she comes home to a voicemail from a former boyfriend informing her of his engagement. After checking out the magazine spread profiling the happy couple and their engagement, she takes a chance and calls Sean (Lamorne Morris), a friend of the husband of one of her best friends, for a blind date. The first adult choice we see Wes make, unfortunately leads to more humiliation, as uptight Sean uses an “automatic out,” something the pair decided on beforehand, to put an end to their date after mere minutes.
Following the disaster with Sean, she trips outside of the hip restaurant and is saved by her seemingly perfect knight, Jared. Desperate for the relationship to work, she hides parts of herself and pretends to be someone she’s not in order to fit into his world. In an incredibly short amount of time, she becomes super invested in the relationship, so it’s no surprise that after he goes dark following their first time sleeping together, she starts to lose it. Drunk on wine after the fifth day of his ignoring her, she sends a long-winded email in which she tears him apart, mentioning his deceased and some unsavory things about his penis. However, just before she is about to hit send, Jared rises from the dead, calling her from another phone to explain that he got in an accident during a last-minute business trip to Mexico and now he’s stuck in a hospital. Her relief quickly turns to horror after her two inebriated best friends, Brooke (Anna Camp) and Kaylie (Sarah Burns), ignorant of this new development, send the inflammatory email.
Desperate to take back the email, Wes sees that the only solution is to hop on a plane to Mexico, break into Jared’s hotel room, hack into one of his devices and delete the email. Brooke and Kaylie come along for the ride, and mayhem ensues as soon as the trio arrive at the luxury resort. In a crazy coincidence, Sean, Wes’ dismissive blind date from earlier, is also staying there.
What “Desperados” does best is highlight the pressures put on people in their thirties. Few people in this season of life have achieved complete fulfillment, as we see with Wes and her friends. While Wes struggles to find a partner, married mom Brooke has to come to terms with the end of her union with her unfaithful husband. Kaylie, meanwhile, is happily married, but has yet to become pregnant. Fortunately, the women have each other to lean on, bringing home the point that female friendships give women of all ages something they can’t get from other areas in their lives.
Unfortunately, “Desperados” relies too much on drawn-out gags and cheap humor. Pedrad, for her part, lacks the charm that we’ve seen her bring to previous roles, and there are too many times where the viewer is expected to just laugh at her being crass and throwing around the word “fuck” during inappropriate situations. There’s a funny running joke that involves Wes being mistaken for a pedophile after a 12-year-old boy (hilarious kid actor Toby Grey) picks up a vibrator that falls out of her bag (apparetly, Wes is the kind of her person who throws a loose sex toy in a tote bag), but even this gag gets tired. The best scenes involve Wes interacting with Sean, as Pedrad and Morris, who previously played a couple on “New Girl,” have great chemistry, which leads to a predictable ending.
“Desperados” begins streaming July 3 on Netflix.